How often do you struggle or wonder what God’s will is in your life? I have had times when I’m uncertain what to do next and many times people have asked me how do you know God’s will. In fact, this is a deep topic and I have started writing a book on connecting with God. In the meantime though, as I was reflecting on this given some conversations these last few days, I decided to pen (or rather type) some of those reflections.
Stepping back in time.. right to the beginning, I think of Adam and Eve. God created them along with everything else in an order carefully planned out. Everything was ready for them before the drums rolled for their arrival! He created Adam, gave him the mandate for living along with ONE condition… JUST one condition: “… but you must NOT eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17) stating the reason, “for when you eat of it you will surely die”. Next He said “It is not good for man to be alone” and then brought Eve to him.
The enemy decided to target Eve – perhaps because she had heard the commandment second-hand. It’s so easy to create doubt when we haven’t heard first hand. She may have wondered whether God had really told Adam or whether Adam heard right etc etc. However, one thing is for sure, she was aware of the commandment.
See her reasons for making a decision to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree – “good for food, pleasing to the eye, desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 4:6).
Which one of these three reasons would you consider ‘sin’?
The reasons itself are ‘good’ stuff but no matter how good the motives, doing something contrary to what God has told us to do is SIN, it is missing the mark that God has placed for our lives. Eve missed the mark and so did Adam who “was there with her” and who ate of the very fruit that God had told HIM not to eat (4:6). God pulls Adam up as well saying he listened to his wife and ate of the fruit that God had told Adam must not be eaten (4:17). The consequences of their choices – they realised they were naked, they hid from God, they shifted blame and ultimately they were banished from the garden. With that entered painful childbirth for women, thorns and thistles on ground and painful toll for men.
Was this God’s perfect will that all this should happen, that they were to be driven out of his presence? The decision caused a spiritual death. Obviously God knew the decision these people would take but God is not a God who forces His will on us… He has a perfect plan for our lives but if we choose not to go with that, there is a permissible will. Then of course there is the ways of the world completely out of His will. He gives us FREE WILL.
Often we are like Adam and Eve, we blindly make decisions justifying ‘good’ things, things that the norms of the world or our cultures would validate as correct… Yes food, aesthetic, wisdom – good stuff! When it comes to choosing a partner for example, most would consider factors such as – family background, education level, career, courteous, well liked and even age gaps. Derek Prince talks of how God led him to make a decision based on God’s principles for marriage that wouldn’t have been considered ‘right’ in the natural eyes: http://www.derekprince.com/Media/Player.aspx?media_id=1000051319&file_id=1000055796
When we long to see God’s will, we need to bear in mind God telling us,
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” – Isaiah 55:9.
We often take much pride and delight in thinking our ways and our thoughts are awesome… to the extent that we make God’s will fit into our limited wisdom! We judge our decisions and even other people’s decisions to these standards that we have set up.
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” – 1 Corinthians 1:20.
Paul doesn’t stop there, he continues on a few verses later in his letter:
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” – 1 Corinthians 1:27.
For those of us who keep the wisdom of the world to help discover God’s will for our lives, we can be assured that God will choose the foolish things of the world to shame us!
Often people quote the following verse to justify that God will give what they desire:
“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart“ – Psalm 37:4.
The condition for desires to be granted is spelt out clearly – delight yourself in the Lord. When our delight is in Him – not in our children or our family, not in our worldly pleasures and treasures – but when it is in Him, then our heartbeats echo His heartbeat for us… We become KINGDOM minded and no longer SELF minded.. We begin to desire what God desires for us and for the world.. Increasingly our flesh gets crucified and the spirit takes over… Instead of praying to God under the pretense of declaration of faith, “I CLAIM TO RECEIVE THIS”, we will have surrendered prayers, “Lord, may your will be done… reveal it to us in the way You would want it to happen and when you would want it to happen”. Our prayers become an avenue for God to CHANGE AND MOULD us to His perfect plan.. and to know His desires. Then those desires would be fulfilled.
If we are to delight in Him, if we are to hear and know His will we are told:
“Do not CONFORM any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2.
We are not to conform to the PATTERN OF THIS WORLD… Transformation takes place by the renewing (continuous process) of our minds. Our minds are so intricate, there is so much of renewal to take place.. to renew all the values and wisdom that we hold as standard – a worldview based on our exposure, experiences, education, culture, religious traditions etc.. A number of these are often contradictory to God’s ways forming legalism instead of being led by the Spirit (God’s breath) who is like the wind – the direction of blowing unknown.
It is in this consistent renewing of our minds that we will be able to test and approved what God’s will is.. and that will be good, pleasing and perfect!